Recently, Oracle’s vice president of Global Business Finance, Christina Kite, authored a two-part series on the results of a survey we undertook with MIT Technology Review Custom. One of the most surprising results to come out of the research is that more than a third of respondents plan to create a shared finance and HR function within a year.
What’s behind this drive for closer collaboration between HR and finance teams?
In a word, necessity. These firms don’t view a shared line of business as an experiment. They consider it a strategic requirement for faster innovation and operational excellence.
In recent years, finance has taken on more of a strategic role across all organizations—performing more forecasting and analysis, offering guidance, and acting as a copilot to the business. But finance leaders can’t be great copilots without the right crew.
Finance understands that, for a company to achieve its strategic goals, it needs the right people in place. HR understands that to find and keep the right talent, it must offer adequate compensation, benefits, and career paths. When both functions work together to achieve these goals, it’s a virtuous cycle.
This purposeful approach can create a true, business-wide transformation that goes beyond efficiency gains here and there.
What’s technology got to do with it?
There’s another factor behind the drive toward a joint HR and finance function: the rise of the cloud.
Consider the amount of work, cost, and risk this type of business restructuring would have required even a few years ago. In the on-premises world, separate finance and HR systems would have been ripped out, re-architected, and replaced. Such an effort would have carried an eye-popping price tag—and if the project failed, heads would have rolled.
By contrast, the MIT survey found that joint finance and HR cloud projects exceed expectations by a wide margin:
· 87% of respondents said their cloud initiatives were completed on or ahead of schedule
· 86% came in at or under budget
These are pretty impressive numbers, and the benefits don’t end when the project does. In fact, the business results met or exceeded expectations for:
· Ability to respond to market opportunities and challenges (90%)
· Ability to meet senior managers' information requirements (89%)
· Internal communications and change management (88%)
· Higher-quality, data-driven decisions (87%)